One can distinguish five
reasons why God allows
devils to attack us:
First, so that from
attack and counter-attack
we may become practised in discerning good
Second, so that our
virtue may be maintained in
the heat of the struggle and so be
confirmed in an impregnable position.
Third, so that as we
advance in virtue we may
avoid presumption and learn humility.
Fourth, to inspire in
us an unreserved hatred
for evil through the experience we thus
have of it.
Fifth, and above all,
that we may attain inner
freedom and remain convinced both of our
own weakness and of the strength
of him who has come to our aid.
on Charity, 2, 67 (SC9,p114.)
Use not Misuse
It is important
to understand the right use of external
objects and pictures of them in
use of them produces for its fruit the
virtues of chastity, charity, and
use results in debauchery, hatred, and
It is through
the measure in which we misuse the
powers of the soul, namely its desire,
emotion, reason, that the vices install
themselves: ignorance and folly
in the reasoning faculty, hatred and
debauchery in the desires and emotions.
The right use, on the contrary, produces
right knowledge and prudence,
charity, and chastity.
God has created is in itself bad. Food
is not bad, gluttony is. The procreation
of children is not bad, lechery [driven
by lust] is. Wealth is not bad, avarice
is not bad, vainglory is.
So you see
nothing is bad in itself, only the
misuse of it, which is the soul's
in cultivating its true nature.
on Charity, 3, 1 (SC9,p123.)
Confessor (580-662 AD), also known as
Maximus the Theologian and Maximus
of Constantinople, was a Christian monk,
theologian, and scholar. He was
born in the region of Constantinople and
was well educated. In his early
life, Maximus was a civil servant, and an
aide to the Byzantine Emperor
Heraclius. He gave up this life in the
political sphere to enter into the
monastic life. Around 614, he became a
monk (later abbot) at the monastery
of Chrysopolis. During the Persian
invasion of the Empire (614), he fled
to Africa. He was exiled twice, tortued in
662 and died shortly after.
His title of Confessor means that he
suffered for the Christian faith,
but was not directly martyred.
Paul Drake. For more readings see Drinking
from the Hidden Fountain:
A Patristic Breviary, by Thomas
Spidlik, Cistercian Publications, 1994.]